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‘Enough is enough’ — Democratic candidates respond to mass shooting at Gilroy festival

Gilroy shooting
Police escort people from Christmas Hill Park on Sunday night following the mass shooting in Gilroy, Calif.
(Noah Berger / Associated Press)

Sunday’s mass shooting at the garlic festival in Gilroy, Calif., which left four dead — including the suspected gunman and a 6-year-old boy — brought a flurry of condemnation and calls for more gun control from the Democrats running for president in 2020.

Candidates called gun violence an epidemic, a disease; some called out the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Assn. The mass shooting injured more than a dozen before police killed Santino William Legan, 19, of Gilroy. It could make gun control a focus of the Democratic debate being held Tuesday and Wednesday night in Detroit.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California spoke to reporters Monday in Detroit about the shooting in her home state.

“I just want to start by expressing my sorrow for the families of those who lost their life in that shooting in Gilroy, Calif.,” she said. “It just keeps happening in our country and these families are right now in deep pain. And so I just want to express my sorrow to them. I want to thank the first responders who turned out to secure the fair and the grounds and make sure no one else was harmed or exposed to harm, but it’s just tragic. There’s no other way to describe it.”

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Earlier on Twitter, she called the shooting horrific and said: “Our country has a gun violence epidemic that we cannot tolerate.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted Sunday night: “This violence is not normal. How many more families will have to lose a loved one before we fix our broken gun laws?

“We must take action, starting with real reform,” he said. “Our thoughts are with everyone in Gilroy this evening. Enough is enough.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said on Monday from Detroit: “We’re past ‘thoughts and prayers.’ We need immediate action, today. We need to remove from office those people who are in bed with the National Rifle Assn.”

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“I voted to ban assault weapons in 1994, knowing that I’d lose my seat if I did, and I lost my seat,” the former criminal prosecutor said, referring to his time as a representative in Congress. “But I have never regretted that vote. That was the right vote then; it’s the right vote now.”

Here is how other candidates have responded to the attack. (Some also refer to another shooting that happened Sunday at a block party in Brooklyn, N.Y., that left one dead and 11 wounded.)

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts: “Yesterday, four people were killed and dozens more injured in senseless gun violence attacks in Gilroy and Brooklyn. One of the victims was a 6-year-old child. And these are just the few that made headlines. I’m heartsick. We have a gun violence epidemic. It’s our duty to act — now.”
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont: “This is sickening to wake up to. Our corrupt political system, which is controlled by the gun lobby, has a lot of waking up to do. When our children are being shot in places that should be safest, we’re failing. Let’s get serious about gun control.”
  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey: “We’re still waiting on all the details from Gilroy, but my heart is already breaking for the victims and their families and the survivors. The gun violence epidemic in this country is out of control. Please be safe and take care of one another.”
  • Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas: “Sending love to all who are hurting tonight — and all who are affected by the 40,000 gun deaths in America each year. We can accept this as our fate or we can change it. Following the lead of the students marching for their lives, and for all of ours, I know we can end this crisis.”
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: “One of those killed in Gilroy was Stephen Romero. ‘My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6,’ said his dad. ‘That’s all I can say.’ You see there are never adequate words to describe these tragedies. Action is needed. Gun safety laws passed. The people must be heard.”
  • Former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro: “Heartbreaking news out of Gilroy, Calif., as another community copes with a mass shooting. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough — we must do more to prevent these tragic attacks.”
Gilroy Map
Where the shooting occurred.
(Los Angeles Times)

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: “This weekend, families in Brooklyn, NY and in Gilroy, CA gathered for joyful annual community events. Both were devastated by shootings. My heart is with all the victims and their families. Gun violence is a national crisis. We can’t keep ignoring this.”
  • Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado: “I’m heartbroken to hear of another mass shooting — this time with a victim as young as six. Yet another assault weapon and still no leadership in Washington.”
  • Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana: “We cannot continue to confront gun violence with empty words. No one should fear for their family’s safety when they go to a festival, to school, or to a movie. Enough.”
Gilroy shooting
Two people stand outside the emergency entrance to St. Louise Regional Hospital on Sunday in Gilroy, Calif. A gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival earlier in the day.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York: " Six. Years. Old. Heartbreaking and senseless. There is no community, town or city in this country that is immune from gun violence. It is a disease that does not discriminate. We have to cut through the deflection and inertia so we can end these killings.”
  • Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio: “Heart breaking for the Gilroy community. There’s no end to gun violence in our communities until we take action.”
  • Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland: “Yet again, innocent lives were lost because the government failed to institute gun safety laws. We have to act now, before yet another tragedy like this happens.”
  • Spiritual author Marianne Williamson: “One more mass shooting: more dead, more suffering. We need universal background checks. Outlaw bump stocks, close loopholes, ban AR 15s and bullets needed to shoot them. All of us must show up now. ONLY support politicians willing to stand up to the NRA.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii have not tweeted about the shooting; their campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Times staff writers Tyrone Beason and Seema Mehta contributed to this report from Detroit.


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